Caritas. Charity with her virgin sisters, Faith and Hope, and their mother
Wisdom, seem to have been the names of real martyrs. The names were very natural
ones for Christians to give to their children. On the Aurelian Way, in the church
of St. Pancras, lay Sophia with her three daughters: Sapientia, with her daughters
Fides, Spes, and Charitas, as William of Malmesbury calls them; but the Latin names
nowhere else occur in this order, the Greek names, when given in full, always do.
Sophia, Pistis, Elpis, Agape, are said to have been a mother and daughters who suffered
in September, and whose relics were transferred to the church of St. Silvester.
On the other hand, Sapienta, Spes, Fides, Caritas, are said by Ado to have suffered
Aug. 1, and were buried on the Appian Way, in the crypt of St. Caecilia. In. that
crypt has been found the inscription,
PISTE SPEI SORORI DULCISSIMAE FECIT.
In the same place, if we rightly understand de Rossi, was found
AGAPE QVE VXIT ANNIS VGINTI ET SEX IN PACE—Agape,
who lived twenty-six years in peace. There is no statement of relationship in the
notices of the tombs on the Appian Way. It appears probable that Ado has confounded
the widely celebrated martyrs who are said to have suffered in September under Adrian,
with the occupants of some Christian tombs in a crypt where there were many celebrations
early in August. The Menology gives the ages of Faith, Hope, and Love as 12, 10,
and 9. (De Rossi, Rom. Sott. i. 180–183, ii. 171 ff., pl. lv. 10; Bede,
Mart. July 1, Bede, Mart. Auct. June 23; Usuard, Aug. 1; Menol.
Basil. Sept. 16.)